President’s Dialogue on Diversity Draws a Crowd

February 29, 2024

China Jude, a champion of diversity in athletics who was recently named one of the “50 Most Influential Black People in Sports” by USA Today, spoke to a full house of students, faculty and staff at this year’s President’s Dialogue on Diversity event.

During her remarks, Jude, who holds a doctoral degree in education, shared insights on maximizing personal and professional growth through strategies that were summarized in her presentation titled: “Knowledge-Proximity-Relationships: Three Things that Will Take You to the Next Level.”

President Shari McMahan got the event started by thanking the campus community for attending. “It’s so great to see such a wonderful turnout,” she said.

McMahan described Jude as “a trailblazer and advocate for inclusion and equity,” saying “we are simply honored to have her on our campus.”


Tim Collins, EWU’s athletics director, introduced Jude as a friend and mentor. “She is a leader in the sports industry, and she is a leader in higher education,” Collins said. “To our students, if you are contemplating a career in sports or higher education, look to Dr. J. — because she’s done it.”

Jude began her presentation by walking the audience through a career path that ultimately led to her to a role as vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion for the NFL’s Denver Broncos.

That career path, she said, began as a personal journey aimed at creating a more inclusive world — a quest that resulted in her transcending racial and gender barriers through service in leadership roles at universities throughout the nation.

Jude, who today has amassed more than 23 years of collegiate athletic administration and coaching experience, shared that “there is a reason for everything: good, bad or indifferent.”

To optimize their own odds for success, Jude recommended that students take advantage of opportunities to build knowledge through research, best practices, benchmarking and other strategies to become the best they can be.

“You are going to continuously be tested in so many different types of ways, be ready for it and be open in embracing the new information and knowledge that is coming to you,” she said. “My knowledge took me to so many places where, on 12 occasions, I was the first woman of color in leadership roles. So, we need to still move the needle on diversity, equity and inclusion.”

In addition to her work with the Broncos, those groundbreaking roles include serving in senior leadership at the University of Wyoming and a position as vice president of athletics at Queens College in New York. Jude shared with the audience that her path had its challenges.

“When you are the first woman of color,” she said, “you are going to have to be okay with clearing the trees so people can walk through.”


**China Jude’s appearance was included as part of Eastern’s 2024 Black History Month celebration. Sponsors included the Office of the President, the Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, EWU Athletics and Africana Studies.